« Left 2 Right | Main | Woolsey Backstory »

Questions, Questions

Kevin Drum tries to regains some street cred with provocative "questions for hawks." I think the Mylroie one is particularly apropos because Mylroie is someone who not only has been known to associate with important persons, but it appears to be the case that the Deputy Secretary of Defense is a follower of hers and the Vice President of the United States may well be one as well. Particularly embarrassing, though, are the issues raised by question seven. I would be very interested in knowing in advance what kind of red lines Bush supporters have regarding future developments in policy toward Iraq and Iran or if they plan on simply continuing to praise the retrospective brilliance of their chosen leader.

The other thing, and this really isn't even a gotcha at all, is what's the deal with the too-small army? You guys are the hawks. The hawks! Don't you see? Harrumph.

Kevin's question five is too narrowly drawn. Doesn't it worry the seculars among you (I know you're out there on the internets) worry that these are a group of people who believe that if they Do The Right Thing they'll be rewarded with eternal life after death and therefore may put a bit more of a premium on moral clarity than those of us trying to live our one and only lives here on the planet earth would deem wise? Do you really want these irrationally death-friendly individuals dragging your life expectancy down with them?

December 7, 2004 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8345160fd69e200d83421eba453ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Questions, Questions:

» The Democrats Cannot win as Hawks from Seeing the Forest
The phrase “credibility on defense” keeps coming up. What is credibility? As far as I can tell, it’s what Scott Ritter and Hans Blix didn’t have when the Iraq war was being proposed in 2002. As it turned out, they were right on the facts. But they’re s... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 7, 2004 11:54:29 AM

» Hawk Foreign Policy Quiz from Outside The Beltway
Kevin Drum has a foreign policy quiz for hawks. There are eight questions: 1. Considering how Iraq has gone so far, do you still think that American military power is a good way to promote tolerance and democracy in the Middle East? Has your positio... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 7, 2004 1:06:51 PM

Comments

A thoroughly enjoyable flap from the consumer side of things. Most enlightening.

Rule 62 - Don't take yourselves' so seriously.

The whole Mylroie things reminds me of Nancy's Astrologer. Now that I've caught a couple of clips, Falwell was nothing but ...at-somewhat-of-a-loss... insane, maybe, yesterday. "Kill 'em all in the name of the lord"? Frrgoodnessakes. And for those with lonnggg memories: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time - but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. [actually it was Lincoln, but coopted... not too long ago]"

Outstanding, all around.

Posted by: Thomas Ware | Dec 7, 2004 1:01:50 AM

Doesn't it worry [you that some other people] may put a bit more of a premium on moral clarity than those of us trying to live our one and only lives here on the planet earth would deem wise?

Not hardly. People like us with one life to live are trying to save the planet, all things bright and beautiful, creatures great and small.

Posted by: bad Jim | Dec 7, 2004 4:14:43 AM

"Doesn't it worry the seculars among you (I know you're out there on the internets) worry that these are a group of people who believe that if they Do The Right Thing they'll be rewarded with eternal life after death and therefore may put a bit more of a premium on moral clarity than those of us trying to live our one and only lives here on the planet earth would deem wise?"

Somewhat. However, looking at the death toll international communism, supposedly a secular ideology, managed to rack up, this does not seem to be an exclusively religious problem.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Dec 7, 2004 6:50:50 AM

"Kevin Drum tries to regains some street cred with provocative "questions for hawks."

Screw the hippies.

I'd rather be the party of working folks.

Posted by: Petey | Dec 7, 2004 8:13:03 AM

Why yes, it does worry me. I think Bush is going insane. He's getting rid of anyone with any ability and surrounding himself with yes-persons. For a year he's never appeared in public without a carefully-arranged crowd of cheering supporters. His ideas of governance ("We'll just keep that trillion dollars off the books") are ludicrous.

I'm not too worried that Bush will have any moral clarity or try to do the right thing. I'm worried about a man of borderline intelligence hiding in the WH and thinking he hears voices...and they're getting louder in his head all the time.

Posted by: serial catowner | Dec 7, 2004 8:37:04 AM

Re: "The other thing, and this really isn't even a gotcha at all, is what's the deal with the too-small army? You guys are the hawks. The hawks! Don't you see? Harrumph."

You miss the point, Matt. The current flock of hawks are interested in quick and effective results, and there is a mood among the neocons that the Army is a slow, ponderous knight on a draft horse encumbered with armor and a dull sword. The Army is being punished for not adapting quick enough to what some call a "fourth generation" of warfare. Meanwhile the Air Force, Navy, and Marines know very well what the new crowd wants and have nice pretty powerpoint briefs that effectively sell their story and get the big acquisition dollars. Until the Army retools and becomes more expeditionary, they aren't allowed to come to the parent's table.

At the same time, the neocons must be struggling with the question of how to succeed in Iraq without lots of Army boots. While they like the high tech flash of "netcentric warfare," it doesn't work against insurgents. Solution, send in more Marines and put the Marines in charge (re: Fallujah). Weird how half the troops in Fallujah were Army units but all you hear about are the Marines. Better public relations...

Posted by: Al | Dec 7, 2004 8:49:32 AM

And how about using US military power for peacekeeping operations in Gaza and the West Bank instead of Iraq? Kinda answers Drum's questions 1 and 5.

Posted by: Al | Dec 7, 2004 8:54:43 AM

It most assuredly worries me that "Jewish domination of the region west of the Jordan River is a precondition for the Second Coming"

This is bloody madness.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr | Dec 7, 2004 8:54:54 AM

"The other thing, and this really isn't even a gotcha at all, is what's the deal with the too-small army?"

Bah. Ve vill respond to their puny 4th generation warfare by skipping two steps to 6th gen, which if I told you I would have...no wait 6th gen involves triple deception, so I will tell you about blowing up the moon, the poison tears & spittle, and devaluing all currencies except the Iraqi Dinar. And if all else fails, the anime/Bollywood versions of Left Behind (with Julia Roberts in schoolgirl costume as Powderpuff Jesus) will force our enemies, all 6 billion+, to their knee.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 7, 2004 9:23:56 AM

As someone who ended up voting for Bush at the last minute largely out of concerns about Kerry’s hawkishness these are my thoughts on Drum’s questions:
1. I am less confident in the ability of U.S. military power to promote democracy in the Middle East. I still don’t have much confidence in the alternatives. Also, Iraq was a special case in which the WMD concerns (now shown to be untrue, but I think honestly and fairly a concern given the information at the time) as well as humanitarian, and democracy promotion concerns combined to make the war a net benefit.
2. Gawd Almighty yes, I wish those two could be publicly shunned. Unfortunately, they made various apologetic noises which makes it somewhat more difficult for Republicans politicians to distance themselves from them. As opposed to Moore who has not been forced to back away from his crackpottery at all despite being equally prominent. Also I just find it less plausible that the Christian Right will achieve any of the same damage the Hippy Left would.
3. Not as such no, I just see democracy promotion as the appropriate long term solution to Middle East backed fanatics attacking us. And yes that means you have to fuse realpolitik in with your idealism which takes more hardline approaches off the table with respect to Pakistan & Saudi Arabia where that approach is likely to lead to an overthrow of some-what friendly regimes (long term gains possibly, but given our already heavy number of short and medium term problems piling on SA or Pakistan now would be too overwhelming).
4. Short term – oil supply. The global economy would take a massive hit without Middle Eastern oil. A massive global recession pretty much kills all other priorities as we all shift focus to that. Democracy promotion will likely only have limited short term benefits – too many problems to fix in the short term. Also, I really do agree with the Cheney legal and policy position with respect to those records. It is a bad idea to force all advice to be given on the record – and I am worried it will lead to self-censorship in giving that advice. I promise to hold this position the next time we have a Democrat in office as well.
5. You don’t have to purge them from your party, you have to make it clear that they aren’t listened to on that issue. Bush has repeatedly made it clear that he supports a Palestinian state – and most Republicans politicians have backed this. I am not concerned that this issue (as opposed to the lack of credible Palestinian negotiating partners’) is holding up the peace process. I was not so convinced that pacifist inspired understandings of just war and concerns about American military power would not influence a Kerry administration – given his vote on GWI and some of his conditions on GWII.
6. Still thinking through this one, leaning towards no at the moment, but really unsure.
7. If the Iraqi Government asks us to I think we have to, otherwise no.
8. Never heard of her. Politicians/Political commentators, doubt they believe it, just being hacks who put forth arguments in bad faith – should be treated with heightened suspicion anytime they make an argument. Random people who actually believe it, probably decent if uniformed or just irredeemably biased people (as are most leftists with similarly extreme/implausible positions) need to be argued with/educated to the extent possible and politely marginalized to the extent not. People who believe it out of racism towards Arabs, insofar as they can be helped out of this stupidity do so, otherwise not so politely marginalized, and if they are public figures – repudiated and purged from the party.

Posted by: Tom | Dec 7, 2004 9:34:37 AM

Seriously I just have to ask the questions. Why are you here? Why do you exist? Is it to save the whales? Is it to make love/procreate? Is it to promote peace? Why should there be Hope and where does it come from? Is there life after death? Is there another earthly life after this one? What does it look like? Why strive to do good? Does anyone matter but me? Am I more important than the state? Am I more important than Jesus/Mohammed/Budda/...? Is grace more important than good works? Will I really get 72 virgins if I cut off the head of this helpless woman? Will I go to heaven if I murder or cause to be murdered 40 million of my countrymen (or ethnic countrymen)? Does enlightenment come from drugs? Is Barry Bonds more important than Pete Rose?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days.

Posted by: Dan from Cos | Dec 7, 2004 9:43:16 AM

Tom, no offense, but when the "random persons" include the Vice-president of the United States and the Deputy Secretary of Defense, crackpot theorists really become a problem!

Posted by: Emma | Dec 7, 2004 10:51:28 AM

Somewhat. However, looking at the death toll international communism, supposedly a secular ideology, managed to rack up, this does not seem to be an exclusively religious problem.

It's an ideological problem. Anyone who believes in something - be it God/Allah/Yahweh or an abstract philosophical concept - enough to murder another in cold blood is, in my opinion, a sick fuck.

And lumping in secularists with Soviet theomachists is just silly. Why not compare Easter-only Catholics with people who shoot up abortion clinics while you're at it?

Posted by: oodja | Dec 7, 2004 10:56:49 AM

A Salute! Today is Decmeber7th. A Day that will live in Infamy. This generations "December 7th" is September 11th. A toast to all those who gave their lives then and since. A toast to all those in the Regiment, Group, Wing, Squadron, Division, Fleet who have died that we can sit here and talk about it.

Some how the toast seems anti-climactic since it is not out of a canteen cup or, all dressed in mess dress drinking from a communal steel pot. Those who know what I mean know what I mean.

Posted by: Dan from Cos | Dec 7, 2004 11:22:17 AM

An amusing question: A columnist asks, what's wrong with Thomas Frank? Perhaps he hasn't been home lately...

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110005940

"Yet Mr. Frank's characterization of the Jayhawk State is completely--bizarrely--at odds with the facts. Kansas's economy has actually outpaced the nation's for years. Throughout the 1990s and the first part of this new decade, Kansas had a lower unemployment rate than the U.S. as a whole. In fact, when the country's unemployment rate dipped below 5% from 1997 to 2001, Kansas's fell under 4%--a level so low that economists basically consider it full employment. Overall, the state's economy added 256,000 new jobs during the 1990s, a 24% growth rate, compared with a 20% national gain in the same period. Even when the economic slowdown set in and the recession finally hit in 2002 and 2003, Kansas lost jobs at a slower rate than the national economy did.

It's the same story in the state's agricultural sector, which Mr. Frank claims the free market has driven "to a near state of collapse." Yes, Kansas farm jobs shrank by about 9% in the 1990s, a result of farms becoming larger and more efficient (and producing more), but the state's total agricultural economy grew by 10%, some 30,000 jobs, as areas like food processing and agricultural wholesaling expanded.

The objects of Mr. Frank's particular concern, his hometown of Shawnee and the rest of Johnson County, have done especially well. For three years in the 1990s, the Shawnee area's unemployment rate actually dipped below 3%, making it one of the tightest labor markets anywhere.

When the recession hit, Shawnee's unemployment rate did rise, but it still stayed below the nation's. And though Mr. Frank describes the place as practically desolate, Shawnee's population grew by a robust 27% during the 1990s. Even more astonishing, today, only 3.3% of its citizens live below the poverty level, compared with about 12.5% nationally. "It's possible his view of us is outdated," says Jim Martin, executive director of the Shawnee Economic Development Council, in classic Midwestern understatement."

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Dec 7, 2004 11:27:35 AM

Given your past gaffes regarding national security, I suggest just steering clear of this one. You're out of your depth.

Posted by: Jeff I | Dec 7, 2004 11:40:56 AM

Emma, I disagree that Cheney or Rumsfeld beleive that. They have pointed out Iraq's connections (limited contacts) with al Qaeda - which I would agree they vastly overstate the significance of. But their arguments for invading Iraq were not premised on the idea that Saddam had planned 9/11.

Posted by: Tom | Dec 7, 2004 11:50:23 AM

Until the Army retools and becomes more expeditionary, they aren't allowed to come to the parent's table.

Al, in all sincerity, go fuck yourself.

What does anything in your post have to do with the current circumstances? The neo-cons are the ones who put the Army in this mess. The Marines, given their relatively small numbers, are always just along for the ride in terms of planning and deployment.

The problem in Iraq is a lack of bodies sufficient to police the mess the neo-cons created with their grand plans to democratize the Middle East. The military knew the thing was poorly conceived from the beginning. Remember, General Shinseki got the priviledge of being publicly insulted by Rumsfeld announcing his replacement months before he was to retire, just to spite him for having the temerity to tell Congress the truth about the Iraq invasion and occupation plans.

Another chickenhawk defending the plans made by chickenhawks. Just go back to playing Halo and reading Soldier of Fortune.

Posted by: Jeff I | Dec 7, 2004 11:53:30 AM

Funny: the neolibs question the neocons. Aren't you in accord about pertty much everything, folks?

Posted by: abb1 | Dec 7, 2004 12:08:04 PM

Tom writes: Also I just find it less plausible that the Christian Right will achieve any of the same damage the Hippy Left would.

Boy, I would like to think you were right. I think you're completely wrong though---I think that the damage done to this country by the Christian Right is likely to take decades to recover from, if we recover at all. And while hippies have no meaningful influence in the Democratic Party (they're more likely to vote Green, or Nader, or Hagelin's Natural Law Party), the Christian Right are the kingmakers of the Republican Party, the power behind the throne. Bush won't repudiate them because they gave him his job.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough | Dec 7, 2004 12:08:41 PM

There has now been a long debate on attitudes to the Afghan and
Iraq wars, which has generated more heat than light. Can we
step back and ask some more abstract questions ?

1) Does everyone believe that there should be some set of moral
principles governing the use of force, to ensure that our actions
are, in some sense, "right" rather than "wrong" ?

2) Does everyone believe that there should be some set of practical
principles governing the use of force, to ensure that our actions
are effective and constructive, in both the short term and the
long term ?

3) Does everyone agree that these moral and practical principles should
govern not just the choice of violent vs peaceful means, but also the
planning and conduct of military operations ?

If we don't all agree about that, then there's little point
in continuing to shout "Afghan war GOOD" - "No! Afghan war BAD!"

If we have some measure of agreement that there really should be such
principles, then both the hawks and doves should present their proposed
principles and we can identify the particular points of disagreement.
I have suggested the conditions of "Just War" as a starting point for my
own position (pragmatic dove, but not outright pacifist). I would welcome
alternative suggestions from doves, but especially from "liberal hawks"
- because for those who supported the Iraq war after Saddam had admitted
UN inspectors, I want to know what principles they have that would ever
exclude war ("war is good as long as we're winning" doesn't qualify :-)

I don't think we should attempt to answer the question of "how should we
present a Democratic national security policy in order to win elections"
until there is some consensus about what is and is not morally acceptable -
I fear that "nuke Fallujah" might very well be a vote-winner,
but surely we can't go there and still be Democrats ?

Posted by: Richard Cownie | Dec 7, 2004 12:24:42 PM

Inasmuch as Matt and Kevin are now doing the good work of criticizing the right again, Atrios won.

The debate was interesting. The question really was to know what's more important, criticizing what can be criticized (Michael Moore), or what should be criticized (George Bush). Clearly, since time is limited, we should focus our efforts on things that matter, as opposed to things that don't.

As loyal MY reader, I score the match to Atrios, who rather impressively held his own against a self-styled reasonable trifecta.


Posted by: alex | Dec 7, 2004 12:36:00 PM

Screw Petey -- or was he trying to be funny? Dismissing with a major political issue with a 35-year-old cliche is sorta braindead, dontcha think, Pete?

Posted by: John Emerson | Dec 7, 2004 12:38:00 PM

Um, listing a series of economic statistics about how Kansas did well in aggregate during the Clinton boom does not disprove the notion that Kansas is voting against its interests.

Posted by: Kimmitt | Dec 7, 2004 1:54:26 PM

>As loyal MY reader, I score the match to Atrios, >who rather impressively held his own against a >self-styled reasonable trifecta.

Having followed the debate on all sites, I agree
with alex that Atrios wins. I also happen to agree
with Atrios's positions. Most importantly, after
reading all the posts I have a pretty clear idea
of what Atrios is *for* (a healthy dose of
skepticism towards all proposed military
operations, and a serious debate of the likely
costs and consequences of the full range
of peaceful and violent options); whereas Matt and
Kevin have not presented any principles behind
their particular decisions to support both wars
rather uncritically (at least until we started
losing).

Surely the choice of war, devastation, and death
requires some justification beyond political
calculation ?

Posted by: Richard Cownie | Dec 7, 2004 2:24:57 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.